Chat Interview with Hon. Chris Chukwunonye Udengwu, MD/CEO Grace Touch Productions Ltd
In a tweet chat with Hon Chris Udengwu who is an economist and the MD/CEO of a fast growing agro business company “Grace Touch Production Ltd. Mr. Chris shared with #EvolveAfrica, the very things that has kept him going. Enjoy.
Evolve Africa: Can you introduce yourself and what you are into?
Hon Chris Udengwu: My name is Christian Chukwunonye Udengwu, I am an economist by profession and a farmer by occupation. I am the MD/CEO of a fast growing agrio business company “Grace Touch Productions Ltd” with production site located at Oyigbo Rivers State, Nigeria.
Evolve Africa: As an economist by profession, how did you become an entrepreneur? What was the deciding factor for you?
Hon Chris Udengwu: Well I came from a family of business people but their level of exposure limited their growth and expansion to greater opportunities, that’s my foundation. As an economist, I worked for few years after service in 2010 at Osun state where I got the best Corps member award from the Osun State Government. I have younger ones and many followers everywhere I go, hence the challenge of being a guardian and mentor. Someday, they will finish school and will look for job and if all of us run away from creating jobs, who will bail the cat, I asked myself? This thought broke me down for weeks and hence the decision to start my life aspiration and journey… But this time, moving further from just business person (dealing on what is created) to entrepreneurship (creating and building existing creativities to better ones) Furthermore I researched the trend in business and Nigerian economy plus the future of oil versus the dwindling oil prices and the potential in agricultural value chain was largely untapped and the gap I saw made me fall in love with the sector. I dived into it starting from where I found myself at that point in time.
Evolve Africa: On your journey as an entrepreneur, what challenges have you encountered or encountering?
Hon Chris Udengwu: The challenges are better imagined because they are enormous. My opinion therefore is that u never graduate from the journey of true entrepreneurship, u keep setting goals, surmounting them and setting new ones, there are no full stops, only comers. This is because at the end of one target begins another journey for a new set target. There are only bends and never a parking garage for a true entrepreneur.
Again, u can read all the entrepreneurship books in the world but they are only a piece of the journey of accomplished entrepreneurs. In this journey, nothing is given, nothing is sure and there are no guarantees. You can read and plan for decades, it will never replace the place of practical experience, and the baptism of fire that comes with hand on practical experience will always come. But if u find a true mentor, it will always be easier. I learnt practically with hard and hitting experiences, those experiences made me what I am today. I always say this in my start up grinds and my weekly corporate business show radio programs at love FM 97.7 where I am a regular guest that entrepreneurship isn’t a work over
Evolve Africa: Wow but can you point to one of these many challenges?
Hon Chris Udengwu: Personally, my family thought I was stupid, they thought that I should be at a work place earning salary than running after chickens. They didn’t care about the big picture. My friends left and my colleagues at my work place said I was mad to have left a job that pays over a hundred thousand per month, to run after chickens.
My parents were looking for a child that can give them monthly stipends, pay their bills, marry, ride a car and then be a fulfilled family man but I was seeing myself as a destined child, called for special assignment to redeem the world, I saw a child who can take them for oversea medical trips, buy them cars and help them in their old age, take them to vacations, create jobs for people looking up to me and many others, give hope to the dying entrepreneurship ecosystem in Nigeria and in Africa, I was looking at the birth of the next multibillion African conglomerate. But I knew the task will be heavy, I knew the foundation will be deep, I got my mind ready for all these from the beginning, that is why I am still here at all costs and against all odds.
Evolve Africa: Wow, so you anticipated all the challenges so that way nothing came to you by surprise
Hon Chris Udengwu: Yes, I assumed the worst from the onset, so nothing I am seeing or will see in the future will ever be a surprise to me. This is my biggest secret.
Evolve Africa: As an experienced entrepreneur, what did you consider your biggest challenge overtime and how did you solve this problem?